Author Archives: valpinny

Say yes to organ donation

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Wednesday 7th to Sunday 18th July

I’m not going to talk about the Euros’ final as we lost. Very grumpy about that ☹️ Even the message I made for them from my spaghetti on toast brunch didnt help 👎

There was some hot and sunny weather to enjoy instead though, lots of gardening and lovely summer’s evening walks.

Definitely the right kind of weather to enjoy a dip in this ‘Sky Pool‘. Would you be brave enough?!

Take a look 👀 – ‘Sky Pool’

Go Robyn, sending Joe Wicks a private message on Instagram and actually getting an answer from him! She had asked him to give me a shoutout to cheer me up, and I got a little video message from him 😱😍

“NHS Blood and Transplant released the figures to mark the publication of the annual Transplant Activity Report.

The report reveals a steady increase in support for organ donation around the country, with 69% of families giving their consent when asked about organ donation.

The annual report shows deceased organ donation fell last year due to the pandemic where Covid-19 had a wide-reaching impact across the whole NHS and every aspect of UK society. (Living donor transplants fell by 58% during the pandemic).

Despite this, 1,180 people in the UK donated their organs after they died, saving or improving the lives of 3,391 transplant recipients and giving hope to the thousands of patients still waiting. (It is estimated that the number of people waiting for a transplant in the UK is now around 7,000).

John Forsythe, Medical Director of Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation, at NHS Blood and Transplant says:

This past year has been completely unprecedented in the history of the NHS, as well as in our wider society. So the fact that we managed to maintain three quarters of our normal donation and transplantation activity across the UK is absolutely phenomenal.

There’s no escaping the fact that organ donation and transplantation will take some time to recover completely, as will the rest of the NHS. But each one of us in the wider clinical team of donation and transplantation across the UK, are immensely proud of the work to keep organ donation and transplants happening in the most challenging circumstances.

But our commitment is nothing compared with donors and their families – the gift of life has been donated in the midst of a tragedy made even more difficult by Covid restrictions.”

I myself would like to say THANK YOU to all donors and their families, you are all amazing 🤩

I went to the seaside! 😀

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Thursday 1st to Tuesday 6th July

A Monday spent in Weston-super-Mare. What a nice surprise, I went to the seaside! 😀

It was a bit of an overcast day but I enjoyed it, I even got to paddle my feet in the sea.

‘Weston-super-Mud’ is located on the Bristol Channel and the River Severn Estuary.

“The Bristol Channel has a large tidal range. The beach is sandy but low tide reveals areas of thick mud which are very dangerous to walk on.”

“The estuary’s funnel shape, its tidal range and the underlying geology of rock, gravel and sand produce strong tidal streams and high turbidity, giving the water a notable brown colouration. Turbidity, put simply, means the water is cloudy due to a high number of mud particles in the water.”

The seagulls certainly didn’t hang about when someone left the remains of their fish and chips 😱

The Grand Pier is well worth a visit.

The pier first opened in 1904. It has been destroyed by fire twice! in 1930 and 2008. It then re-opened after the latest fire in 2010. You will now find a cafe/restaurant, live music performances, a land train, a very big arcade with so many different machines to play on, there’s a Museum of Memories, soft play … lots to do 👍

And you can still get a donkey ride on the beach! It is thought that this tradition started in 1886. Even The Beatles have rode the donkeys, when they visited in 1963!

While we were walking along the beach I managed to get this video of the donkeys enjoying their play time at the end of another busy day giving childrens’ rides 🐎

Star prize

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Thursday 24th to Wednesday 30th June

A nice afternoon spent at Oxford University Hospitals’ Volunteer Summer Gathering. Think I might have got star prize thanks to my lucky bag, which was also full of food goodies 😋 I won a garden centre gift voucher, just perfect for me 😀 Thank you.

And another nice afternoon spent at Blenheim Palace Flower Show. There were some really lovely flower displays and so many different flowers and plants for sale, amongst other things.

I wasn’t really in the mood to take lots of photos of them all as I usually would 😏 but I did take this one of a succulent display. It has given me some nice ideas. I love the witches hat, but they are all quite amazing.

Here’s a couple of my own succulents, they have given me some lovely flowers this year 🙂

Look at this clever pic 🐞

Strawberries

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Tuesday 15th to Wednesday 23rd June

Happy Birthday to Robyn 🎁🎂

We had a nice sunny day out in Stratford-upon-Avon ☀️

The life cycle of strawberries 🍓

Fascinating isn’t it?

Here’s my own first crop of strawberries for this year.

Yes some of them are very tiny, but that’s just one of the varieties that I have. I can also grow some bigger strawberries too!

Funny! 😆

It’s the Euros ⚽️

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Friday 11th to Monday 14th June

11th June to 11th July – The UEFA European Football Championship, less formally the European Championship and informally the Euros, is the primary association football competition contested by the senior men’s national teams of the members of the Union of European Football Associations, determining the continental champion of Europe.

It’s time for the Euros, yay! Lots of football for me to watch ⚽️

A good way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon 🙂

And the lovely weather continued, ideal for pottering in the garden.

I made these out of our empty coconut shell bird feeders!

I’ll keep you posted on how well they grow 🌱

I wonder if they’ll do as well as the succulents in my lovely yellow teacup?!

This is how it was looking back in April last year and after a bit of a tidy up.

And this is it now 👍

Secret Garden

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Tuesday 1st to Thursday 10th June

1st to 7th June – National Volunteers’ Week, a week dedicated to thanking all volunteers for their time, energy, commitment, values and skills.

Thank you Ward 7F 😍

I am looking forward to the time when I am allowed to come back and visit the patients on the ward.

I had an enjoyable trip to Blenheim Palace at the weekend. Just from simply deciding to walk around the grounds of the Palace a different way to usual, meant that we got to see some different views which was a nice change.

And we found the Secret Garden! 😱

“The Secret Garden at Blenheim Palace used to be the private garden of the 10th Duke of Marlborough, the present Duke’s father. This beautiful garden had fallen into disuse but has been recently restored.”

It was lovely in the Secret Garden. There were so many different types of plants to see.

A nice, warm and sunny afternoon! ☀️

Sunny walks

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Saturday 22nd to Monday 31st May

It has been almost two years since Hook Norton Brewery have been able to use their Shire horses for deliveries (thanks to Covid). They are one of only 3 breweries in the UK that still use the Shire horse for their deliveries. They usually deliver to the pubs in Hook Norton every week.

The Shire horse is one of three native British breeds of heavy working horse – Shire, Clydesdale and Suffolk Punch – and has, since the Second World War, declined in numbers so dramatically that they are now reputedly rarer than the Giant Panda.

We were lucky enough to get a visit to our town at the weekend.

From 1st to 23rd May was Oxfordshire Art Weeks.

“Enjoy a walk around the lanes of Chipping Norton passing images of work from local artists.”

So that’s what I did! Here’s just a few of my favourites.

Can you see the face?

Some lovely sunny weather of course means some more lovely sunny walks. I find it hard to get myself to stay inside!

I spy Chippy

Pinching the duck’s bread!

👣 👣 👣

Jordan 💙

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Saturday 15th to Friday 21st May

17th May – it’s time for the easing of some more Covid restrictions. So bigger groups of up to 30 people are allowed to meet outside now, you can meet up to 6 people or 2 households inside, you’re allowed to go inside pubs and cafes to drink and eat and you’re allowed to hug people! Sadly there was no hug for me, so I took myself out and treated myself to a nice hot mug of tea and a Raspberry & Amaretti crumble cake instead!

This is how I organise things!

But at least it then means that I can always find a little bit of time to do some gardening between the showers 🦉

This is such a tragic story. This poor little boy was struck by lightning during football training 😰

I felt very thankful when I read this though – Jordan Banks’ organs donated. What an amazing gift he has left behind for 3 other children and their families. Jordan will certainly always be remembered now 💙

Nature

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Saturday 8th to Friday 14th May

Happy Birthday to Leah 🎁🎂

What a miserable day it was 🌧 compared to last year ☀️ (and very annoying that the silly faulty gazebo spoilt our plans 😡☹️)

We did make it to Cotswold Wildlife Park & Gardens though 🙂

It was finally time for me to get back out into the big wide world and go back to work. What some tough and strange times.

Mental Health Awareness Week was from 10th to 16th May.

The theme this year is Nature. “The evidence is clear that access to nature is crucial for our mental health. During the long months of the pandemic, millions of us turned to nature. Going for walks outside was one of our top coping strategies.”

I know it certainly was one of mine, and has been for a good few years now 👣

Pretty dandelions

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Saturday 1st to Friday 7th May

So here’s my photos from a weekend of walks 👣

From walking along the side of a canal and searching for bluebells in a wood to watching a mummy duck with her little ducklings (how cute are they?!) in a secret garden – there were some great photo opportunities!

Dandelion!

“Although dandelions are vilified by the ‘lawn care’ industry as weeds, they are the first food in the Spring of our disappearing bees and a mainstay of bouquets picked by children for their mothers. Dandelions also are an important source of food for some birds … finches for example, disappear from feeders when dandelions go to seed. Dandelions are a sign of a safe, nontoxic lawn for your family, wildlife and pets. Long live dandelions.”

I see lots of dandelions while I’m out walking in the countryside. I’ve always thought that they are such a pretty flower, and my favourite colour yellow.

And then of course you can have some fun and do this whilst making a wish … (This was on one of my sunny walks in lockdown last year).

I love dandelions!